ACRE VOLUNTEERING - NICE WEATHER FOR DUCKS
Posted on 11 May 2015 by James
Somehow we managed to pick the only rainy day in April, but we did not let the weather dampen our spirits and set off across Hammersmith bridge on a brisk Wednesday morning, with enthusiasm in our hearts and water on our brows (and everywhere else).
The London Wetlands centre is an oasis of solitude and natural beauty in the heart of the city, run by passionate employees and volunteers alike. Whilst it’s primary goal is to provide a habitat and refuge for many species of bird, including endangered and vulnerable breeds such as the Avocet, it also acts as a hub of education for youths and adults alike, allowing them to reconnect with nature in an urban environment where it is often forgotten.
They receive thousands of volunteers every year to help them undertake tasks which are vital to the running of the centre and we were keen to see what the day would bring for us. We were met by avid ornithologist and LWC volunteer David Cowmeadow who first took us on a tour of the site, providing fantastic insight into the origins of the wetland and pointing out bird calls along the way. Within minutes we had learned the subtle nuances between identifying a moorhen and a coot (coots having white bills and moorhens having red…or maybe it’s the other way round) and that a certain breed of bat enables tequila production to be possible.
After this, our task for the day was set with us having to erect a wooden wall as part of an invertebrate habitat to encourage stag beetles to breed on site. We set to our duty with alacrity, keen to finish the wall in the time we had (but also to get out of the rain and into the onsite restaurant to sample the array of muffins we had seen earlier that morning). Our assignment for the day was not only engaging, as you knew you were helping to increase the biodiversity of the wetland, but it was also a great team building exercise.
The LWC is a great place playing an important role and I would encourage anyone reading this to give up a few hours of your time to go down to see all the great work being done, and maybe even do some yourself! David tells me if you time your visit right, you also might get a shot of tequila. To help learn about the bats role in its production of course.